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Neighbors of Kane County

2021 A Good Year for Downtown Aurora Openings

Aurora is growing, and downtown is shining bright with new residential and more than a dozen businesses that opened in 2021. There are a lot of new things to see in downtown Aurora.

Aurora Downtown, the nonprofit organization that oversees downtown’s Special Service Area, reported the following new business openings and residential offerings. 

French 75 Gallery and Lounge, 56 E. Galena Blvd., is a cocktail lounge and art gallery. It might be new, but it feels like it’s been there forever. The eclectic mix of furniture and painted gold ceiling give the spot a warm and welcoming vibe. The cocktails are delightful, and there are beer and wine options as well as charcuterie. On Wednesdays during the Broadway season, French 75 is partnering up with Mora Asian Fusion for lunch and dinner. 

The Yetee opened up Superjumbo Retro Toy Store at 102 E. Galena Blvd., a vintage toy shop that just happens to be hip and trendy. From nostalgic finds like ALF pins to a small rear gallery that hosts pop up art shows, Superjumbo brings a fun twist to a retro toy store. 

For the first time, downtown Aurora has an arcade. Not only are we excited about Yetee Station at 11 N. Broadway, but it’s an admission-based arcade, so you can pay $15 and play all day. You can eat dinner, and come back to play some more. It’s perfect for all ages with a variety of games including pinball machines and vintage goodies like Q*bert. Unfortunately the arcade suffered water damage from a leaky ceiling over the holiday break, but owner Mike Mancuso said it will be back open soon.

From a food truck to a brick-and-mortar restaurant, Chupacabra Puerto Rican Kitchen at 31 N. Broadway is a welcome addition to Broadway. It quickly became a favorite with the dedication and passion of owners Maria and Peter Skokan behind every order. 

Six Thirty are the new media kids on the block at 30 N. Broadway, and they are making a name for themselves by working with musicians out of California and elsewhere. They say the brand is built on hip hop and youth culture. Six Thirty offers a retail line of urban apparel and does work in photography, music production, and visual entertainment. 

Sammy Wammy Floral is a full-service floral shop at 40 E. New York St. that creates floral arrangements for any occasion. They offer same-day floral delivery. The shop also sells creative baskets for gift-giving, like the Health C Basket that’s perfect for a friend on the mend. 

Latrice Murphy relocated her studio from Broadway to River Street. Now boasting a larger space, Latrice Murphy Design and Photography offers multiple backdrops, a dressing room, and wardrobe at 62 S. River St.

Magical photos are being snapped in a fairyland inside of a Broadway storefront. Enchanted Fairies offers a magical photo experience for children. Book photos online and visit the studio at 10 N. Broadway.

Vincenzo Valenziano’s photography gallery Seven Setting Suns Art Gallery showcases Valenziano’s colorful works at 14 W. Downer Pl. Ste. 12 in the historic Metropolitan Business College building.

A free drop-in center for teens, Alive Teen Center provides after-school programming and clubs as well as summer activities for teens 6th to 12th grade at 76 S. LaSalle St. 

Centro Botanico, a new Downer Place storefront, is open with vitamins and wellness supplements. Find natural products, too. Call ahead for hours.

BCool Homes is the office for Real Estate agent Bryan Cool. Cool set up shop at the corner of New York Street and Broadway at 36 N. Broadway.

Keystone Historic Apartments, 30 S. Stolp Ave., offers much-needed residential growth downtown. The historic four-story Keystone building is now leasing one-bedroom lofts after undergoing an extensive renovation. The lofts are at the center of the arts and culture district. Developer Urban Equity Properties out of Rockford will finish more residential units in the New Year at the Terminal Building at Galena Boulevard and Broadway. 

Additional residential will be available once The Hobbs renovation is complete at Galena Boulevard and River Street. 

In the New Year, look for The Cotton Seed Creative Exchange and Wyckwood House to both open at their new locations on River Street in downtown Aurora. Obsidian Clothing and Aroma Roots recently launched a soft opening at 32 N. Broadway. 

The newly renovated Copley Theatre will launch Paramount's BOLD Series in March with “Sweat,” a Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Lynn Nottage.

Stolp Island Social at 5 E. Galena Blvd. is back open to feed the theater crowd after an extended closure due to the pandemic. Chef John Thurmond is serving up à la carte specials for the New Year.